Q: I am developing deep folds on the sides of my mouth and my eyelids have extra skin that make me look tired. I have attached a picture so you can see my concerns. What type of plastic surgery will get rid of these problems?
A: Thank you for your inquiry and picture. There are two comments that I can make based on your pictures. First, you have a thin and lean type of fat. As a Caucasian, this makes your skin thin and extremely prone to wrinkles particularly around the mouth area. Such wrinkles around the mouth, known as smile lines outside the corners of the mouth, are virtually resistant to any treatment other than temporary injectable fillers. There is no surgery that can provide a cure or any long-lasting treatment for that resistant wrinkle problem. It is resistant because the one thing that would help in not making them continue to develop is to stop smiling or moving your mouth…not only an impossible but not a good social habit to develop.
From an eyelid standpoint, you have deep set eyes (again due loss of fat around the eyeball area or, in your case, you may have never had it to start with) with some moderate skin redundancy of both upper and lower eyelid skin. The real issue is whether the skin on your upper eyelids needs to be removed (eyelid tuck or blepharoplasty) or whether lifting of the eyebrows is better. You can determine that by doing a simple lift test on your eyebrows and see what it does to the skin on your upper eyelids and the new brow position.
For all of these reasons, I don’t think computer imaging is helpful in making these facial aging treatment decisions. It would be better to come in and sit down and go over the options that are available…and see what they can and cannot do.
Dr. Barry Eppley
Q: I am in the very early stages of looking into treatment for the area under my eyes. I believe the problem could be easily fixed by the right Dr. and this is my first attempt to find out what is involved and how much it would cost. The skin directly under each eye is all wrinkled and takes completely away from my appearance and has caused me to be completely self conscious for many years now and if I can do something about it, I would like to.
A: Aging around the eyes is often one of the first signs that many people notice as they get older. Changes in the lower eyelid are usually more obvious than that of the upper eyelids since they are not hidden or distracted by the eyebrow and are larger by surface area. Since so much of human conversation involves direct eye contact, how our eyes look is seen by all. It is no wonder then that many people seek plastic surgery for an improved and more youthful eye appearance.
While there are many topical creams out there, and they do have some anti-aging merits, they are no replacement for more invasive eyelid skin treatment methods. Depending upon the amount of loose skin that exists on the lower eyelid, some version of a lower blepharoplasty or eyelid tuck can be very helpful. Through a fine line incision along the lower eyelash line which extends slightly out from the corner of the eye, loose skin is removed and the lower eyelid is tightened.
Lower blepharoplasty will definitely help remove some but not all of the eyelid wrinkles. You never want to risk removing too much skin from the lower eyelid in an effort to work out every sinle wrinkle and then end up with a pulling down of the eyelid after. (ectropion) Lower blepharoplasty is an excellent wrinkle reducer but should not be thought of as a complete wrinkle remover.
Dr. Barry Eppley
One of the first signs of aging is what happens around one’s eyes. We are so expressive with our eyes and forehead that they bear the brunt of much of the early and visible signs of the aging process. How many times has someone said to you…are you tired?…have you been working late?…when in fact you just had eight hours of sleep. The development of extra eyelid skin, lower eye bags, and wrinkles around the eyes can be telling.
This makes the blepharoplasty (eyelid tucks) a vital plastic surgery procedure in making one look more refreshed. Many patients fear, however, that such an eyelid procedure will change their appearance rather than just making it more youthful or rejuvenated. This fear is promoted by just looking at today’s over-operated celebrities who have had too much surgery, or overly aggressive surgery, and look very unnatural. Such changes do make one look different, but not better.
Modern blepharoplasty surgery avoid these problems using a more conservative approach based on a better understanding of how the eyelid and face changes with age. Greater emphasis is placed on not disturbing the eyelid’s complex system of support and removing just the right amount of extra skin. This leads to a more natural looking result that does not alter one’s appearance.Baggy upper and puffy lower lids can now be treated with less tissue disruption and scarring for a safer and more natural long-term result. The goal is to look like yourself…just better!
When considering an upper eyelid procedure, the position of the eyebrow must be considered. A low hanging eyebrow can make it look like there is more skin in the upper eyelid than really exists. A browlift procedure is occasionally done with a blepharoplasty when it is determined that a higher brow is aesthetically beneficial. How do you know if your eyebrow is too low? That would depend on where one’s brow was when they were young. I would submit that most people do not remember where it was in their younger days. You simply have to play with it in the mirror to decide if higher is better.
Browlifts are primarily a procedure for women, they are rarely done in men. When browlifts are done, emphasis should be on more lateral brow elevation and less inner brow elevation. A woman’s eyebrow usually has an upward and outward sweep to it towards one’s temple area. Bringing up the inner part of the eye brow is what creates an unnatural overelevated look.
Today’s in-office ‘needle’ treatments can also provide some around the eye area improvement. Botox (and Dysport), not injectable fillers, is what is used. It is a great treatment for reducing the frowning look between the eyebrows, horizontal forehead lines, and crow’s feet wrinkles at the side of the eyes which can be particularly evident when one smiles. As an early treatment before significant eye aging changes occur or as a complement after blepharoplasty surgery, Botox is a simple and cost-effective non-surgical treatment.
One no longer has to be told that they look tired or are seeing their eyeball slowly disappear in a sea of loose and hanging eyelid skin. Between the three Bs (blepharoplasty, browlift and Botox), a more rested and refreshed you awaits!
Dr. Barry Eppley